What if..?

For discussing Torment's story, setting, and characters. Ninth World discussions encouraged. Spoilers allowed.

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teenparty
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What if..?

Post by teenparty »

What if the Changing God is not really immortal? What if he only transfers his memory into the new bodies, but not his actual consciousness?

ooooooooooooooooooooooooo
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Re: What if..?

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teenparty wrote:What if the Changing God is not really immortal? What if he only transfers his memory into the new bodies, but not his actual consciousness?

ooooooooooooooooooooooooo
Wait, aren't they the same thing? Here let me ask you a question in response:
What if you were to use a teleportation device and one day it malfunctioned and produced two of you. Which one of the two is the real you? The answer is neither. There is no such thing as "YOU". You are nothing but your memories, thoughts. You are your brain. There is no little man in your head. ;)
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Re: What if..?

Post by Firkraag »

This thread needs:

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Re: What if..?

Post by Firkraag »

But, yeah, anon6059 is right on this one.

My theory is that Changing God made a mistake or didn't have enough knowledge or tools and his (castoffs) bodies do just a soft memory formatting instead of complete clean up.

He copies his memories into the new host and wipes out his consciousness from the castoff, but their state of mind (at least, what The Last Castoff is showing) is much closer to amnesia, than clean slate. Remnants of the old memories help new consciousness to form (castoff knows, how to walk, how to talk and many other things). If ChGd were a bit more careful, he'd either make castoffs bodies self-destruct... Or didn't wipe out their memory cores, so he could return to that body and merge two or more minds. That would've been even greater form of immortality, instead of current one.

I'm not sure about that one, but if structure of his brain closer to machine, you might consider Castoff's/Changing God's mind to be an "application" running on whatever OS their bodies are using, complete with simple AI subroutines and VR environment, if Castoff's Labyrinth is any indication.
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Re: What if..?

Post by teenparty »

anonymous6059 wrote:
teenparty wrote:What if the Changing God is not really immortal? What if he only transfers his memory into the new bodies, but not his actual consciousness?

ooooooooooooooooooooooooo
Wait, aren't they the same thing? Here let me ask you a question in response:
What if you were to use a teleportation device and one day it malfunctioned and produced two of you. Which one of the two is the real you? The answer is neither. There is no such thing as "YOU". You are nothing but your memories, thoughts. You are your brain. There is no little man in your head. ;)
No, they're not the same thing. :x Have you not seen The Moon?
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Re: What if..?

Post by Firkraag »

teenparty wrote:No, they're not the same thing. :x Have you not seen The Moon?
The what?
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Re: What if..?

Post by teenparty »

Firkraag wrote:
teenparty wrote:No, they're not the same thing. :x Have you not seen The Moon?
The what?
It's a movie by Zowie Bowie aka. Duncan Jones. A man has worked on the moon for several years and looks forward to be reunited with his family. Then he learns that he is truly just a clone with a very short lifespan and that his body will soon decompose. The fact that a new clone will awaken with his looks, personality and memories does not make this character immortal. He still dies.
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Re: What if..?

Post by Firkraag »

Hm... Isn't an experience of counsciousness, as well as experience of death, inherently subjective?

For the copy, that will die, it means death. For the copy, that will awaken it means life... and several years of amnesia in between. For the original back on earth this experience doesn't even exist.

Your cousciousness is an emergent process. There is bunch of things, you can't even perceive quick enough, but your brain cuts and tapes in a way, it would feel as a continuous nonstopping experience. There's a lot, you have forgotten, but your brain is filling in the blanks and provides you with logically consistent narratives, that are believable, but false.

When you go to sleep, who wakes up in your bed the next day? You? Or your clone with your looks, personality and memories?

How do you know, that you don't die every second of your sentient life? Or would you say, that you are the same person you were a week ago? A year ago? Decade ago? Didn't those people die to pass all they had to you?

P.S. That said, a subjective experience of imminent death isn't very nice thing to live through. One could argue, that it might be prudent to lessen/remove fear of death inversely to our ability to prolong continuous mental existence and prevent deaths from occuring (to marry reality with subjective experience), but at least few more opportunities can be considered before that. If your mind is stored/streamed/copied into a black box when you die, you can be safely recovered and potentially merged with your living version and/or restored to life. When my friend argued, that it's still death experience and your copy with your up-to-date memories still isn't you, I contemplated cloud-stored consiousness with lag-less connection to the physical body. So, when your "body" "dies" you could experience your "death" from two places at once near-instantly. That theoretically can make this experience to be considered a "not dying". Also it might be closer to tele-operated body rather, than the two of you, so it's quesntionable, that you even die? Do you die, when your finger is hacked off? Does small part of you die?

P.P.S. Also, Numenera are usually written with enough ambiguity to bounce off any questions about it's internal workings and logic. As far as we know, The Changing God could've created artificial "soul" for his consciousness to inhabit, a digital ghost, surfing through Ninth World's rich Datasphere, and he doesn't even stop, when his current host is broken. He might consciously choose, whether to stay or abandon a castoff before it will revive. Or his immortality might be not at all, what is advertised. It might be as broken, glitchy, incomplete process, as Nameless One's "immortality" were. Or it might be a dozen of other possibilities in between.
Last edited by Firkraag on February 22nd, 2017, 5:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What if..?

Post by Firkraag »

If we're using examples of media, anyway, this little piece captures first half oа my post quite well: Wolfenstein New Order (Though, I'm not sure why they decided to put it into the game. Eh. It's still great.)
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Re: What if..?

Post by anonymous6059 »

Whoa. So yeah, that cut scene from Wolfenstein is exactly right. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sK6S5qQjE4
I actually believe everything she says to be truth. Every time we sleep the "you" dies. You are just an illusion.

When The Changing God inhabits a Castoff he himself dies and is reborn in the new body. It is still him in every way, just in a different body. In the same way we are not the same person we were when we were children. The body has changed, our minds have changed, nothing is really the same, except for memories. The illusion is held together by our memories. We believe we are the same person, because we can remember everything that has happen to us. The truth is we are not that person, that person, that "You" never has existed. It is just an elaborate illusion created by evolution. A very useful illusion no doubt, but an illusion all the same. All this was uncovered years and years ago. The problem is no one wants to know the truth. It just isn't something anyone wants to accept: https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/being-no-one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZsDDseI5QI

One of the Torment Novellas actually touches on this dilemma. So you can assume this will crop up in the storyline of the game.

The Changing God is immortal. However, I do believe that with every new Castoff part of his mind is lost. Not so dissimilar to what happens to all of us as we grow old. Think of when a Xerox's makes a copy of a copy of a copy. Eventually you start to get small artifacts that crop up on the page. A sort of dementia that infects the mind.

This is where the "The specter" will come into play. He is the "You" that has become lost because you are The Changing God. During the fall you took a considerable amount of damage. The body knitted itself together, but the mind was severely damaged. Now the only way to put Humpy Dumpy back together again is through the Resonance Chamber.
Last edited by anonymous6059 on February 22nd, 2017, 6:55 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: What if..?

Post by teenparty »

Are you trying to give me nightmares?

Your consciousness is linked to your brain. Chemical alteration or physical trauma to the brain affects consciousness. Brain cells are, unlike all other cells, not replaced by new one's when they die. This - and the fact that the alternative terrifies me - leads me to conclude that I am the same person as I was yesterday.

I don't want to talk about this anymore. When is 7th Heavon on?
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Re: What if..?

Post by anonymous6059 »

teenparty wrote:Are you trying to give me nightmares?

Your consciousness is linked to your brain. Chemical alteration or physical trauma to the brain affects consciousness. Brain cells are, unlike all other cells, not replaced by new one's when they die. This - and the fact that the alternative terrifies me - leads me to conclude that I am the same person as I was yesterday.

I don't want to talk about this anymore. When is 7th Heavon on?
Well, you started this discussion. You could just walk away now and enjoy your TV show or you could watch this video.

It is your choice or is it? ;)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQHBAdShgYI
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Re: What if..?

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anonymous6059 wrote:
teenparty wrote:Are you trying to give me nightmares?

Your consciousness is linked to your brain. Chemical alteration or physical trauma to the brain affects consciousness. Brain cells are, unlike all other cells, not replaced by new one's when they die. This - and the fact that the alternative terrifies me - leads me to conclude that I am the same person as I was yesterday.

I don't want to talk about this anymore. When is 7th Heavon on?
Well, you started this discussion. You could just walk away now and enjoy your TV show or you could watch this video.

It is your choice or is it? ;)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQHBAdShgYI
For the most part, the narrator seem to agree with me. The Ship of Theseus is a poor metaphor, because most evidence suggest consciousness stems from the brain. The brain does not replace its neurons.

la la la smiling back at me I know there's no greater feelin'
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Re: What if..?

Post by Firkraag »

teenparty wrote:
anonymous6059 wrote:
teenparty wrote:Are you trying to give me nightmares?

Your consciousness is linked to your brain. Chemical alteration or physical trauma to the brain affects consciousness. Brain cells are, unlike all other cells, not replaced by new one's when they die. This - and the fact that the alternative terrifies me - leads me to conclude that I am the same person as I was yesterday.

I don't want to talk about this anymore. When is 7th Heavon on?
Well, you started this discussion. You could just walk away now and enjoy your TV show or you could watch this video.

It is your choice or is it? ;)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQHBAdShgYI
For the most part, the narrator seem to agree with me. The Ship of Theseus is a poor metaphor, because most evidence suggest consciousness stems from the brain. The brain does not replace its neurons. (except, in cases, when it does)

la la la smiling back at me I know there's no greater feelin'
The only problem is that consciousness is not neurons. It's generated and perpetuated by neurons. Our mind is more fickle thing of electricity and chemical reactions occuring daily. Memories are rewritten and change slightly each time they're addressed. And if you stop the electric processes in your brain and kickstart it back, there will be no 'You' in there, even if neurons are still there.

Also: this and this and onward (though, be a bit critical with these, there is some stealthy bias, sneaked in, here and there).
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Re: What if..?

Post by teenparty »

Firkraag wrote:
teenparty wrote:
anonymous6059 wrote:
Well, you started this discussion. You could just walk away now and enjoy your TV show or you could watch this video.

It is your choice or is it? ;)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQHBAdShgYI
For the most part, the narrator seem to agree with me. The Ship of Theseus is a poor metaphor, because most evidence suggest consciousness stems from the brain. The brain does not replace its neurons. (except, in cases, when it does)

la la la smiling back at me I know there's no greater feelin'
The only problem is that consciousness is not neurons. It's generated by neurons. Our mind is more fickle thing of electricity and chemical reactions occuring daily. Memories are rewritten and change slightly each time they're addressed. And if you stop the electric processes in your brain and kickstart it back, there will be no 'You' in there, even if neurons are still there.

Also: this and this.
Hmmm. I was writing something, but then I suddenly realise that your argument does make a lot of sense. I hate it when that happens.

Still, even if the me of today is not the me of yesterday, even if there may be moments when there is no me at all... I give up. I lack the language skills to articulate my point.
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Re: What if..?

Post by Firkraag »

Don't worry. It isn't a contest. Live and learn and all that.

I'm no head scientist, so probably mangled-up a lot. Real neurobiologists admit, that they don't know most of what's there to know.

So, back to Changing God, we don't know and may not know at all. A state of science in Ninth World is... lacking.

Though, I'll be thrilled to know, if Torment's team did the research on that topic and how it impacted the game.
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Re: What if..?

Post by mavoras »

anonymous6059 wrote:
teenparty wrote:What if the Changing God is not really immortal? What if he only transfers his memory into the new bodies, but not his actual consciousness?

ooooooooooooooooooooooooo
Wait, aren't they the same thing? Here let me ask you a question in response:
What if you were to use a teleportation device and one day it malfunctioned and produced two of you. Which one of the two is the real you? The answer is neither. There is no such thing as "YOU". You are nothing but your memories, thoughts. You are your brain. There is no little man in your head. ;)
I like Gene Wolfe's solution for this problem (as written in the Urth of the New Sun), though I am sure he must have gotten the idea from somewhere else. The "anima" idea, that you are a pattern of thought.

Quote:

``What do you know of the anima?''

I thought then of Ava, and what she had said to me: `*You're a materialist, like all ignorant people. But your materialism doesn't make materialism true*.'' Little Ava had died with Foila and the rest. ``Nothing,'' I muttered. ``I know nothing of the anima.''

``In a way, it's like a line of verse. Famulimus, what was the one you quoted to me?''

His wife sang, ``Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night, Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight.''

``Yes,'' I said. ``I understand.''

Barbatus pointed. ``Suppose I were to write those lines upon that wall---and then to write them again upon that other wall. Which would be the true lines?''

``Both,'' I said. ``And neither. The true lines are not writing, nor speech either. I can't say what they are.''

``That is the way of the anima, as I understand it. It was written there.'' He indicated the dead man. ``Now it is written in you. When the light of the White Fountain touches Urth, it will be written there again. Yet the anima will not be erased in you by that writing. Unless---''

I waited for him to continue.

Ossipago said, ``Unless you come too close. If you write a name in the dust and retrace it with your finger, there are not two names, but one. If two currents flow through a conductor, there is one current.''
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Re: What if..?

Post by Firkraag »

I'm about ninety nine percent sure, that it doesn't count as "solution", if it's fictional.
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Re: What if..?

Post by mavoras »

Firkraag wrote:I'm about ninety nine percent sure, that it doesn't count as "solution", if it's fictional.
We don't know how consciousness is formed or if it can be copied. There is no known solution at the moment so I am talking about imaginary ones.
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Re: What if..?

Post by Aenno »

mavoras wrote:
Firkraag wrote:I'm about ninety nine percent sure, that it doesn't count as "solution", if it's fictional.
We don't know how consciousness is formed or if it can be copied. There is no known solution at the moment so I am talking about imaginary ones.
Actually we can't even say what's consciousness really is.
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